Babies are exhausting. As I new mom to a three-month-old baby girl, I know first hand exactly what this means. I also know what it’s like to be inside a postpartum body trying to get back into your running routine. It’s not easy to find the time, motivation, strength, or patience, but it IS possible! It gets easier every week to figure out your new routine, and your body WILL bounce back. Here are my tips for how to return to running when your world has been turned upside down.
1. Wait six weeks before starting to run again. Whether you ran throughout your pregnancy or not, you gave birth to a child and your body endured a huge amount of trauma. As a result, your body isn’t quite the same as it was before you delivered and it needs time to recover. Some doctors will tell you it’s fine to get back out there at your two-week postpartum check up. My recommendation is to wait at least six weeks after you give birth to start running again. Use the time to build up to long walks and maintain/build strength you need to start running again. Be smart and ease back slowly.
2. Start with run/walk intervals for a minimum of one week. Don’t make the mistake of trying to run for 30 minutes straight on your first run back after pregnancy. Instead, get comfortable with your new mom body by forcing yourself to incorporate scheduled walk intervals into your runs for at least the first week of running. How often? That’s up to you, but I recommend five minutes running and one minute walking. This enables you to check in with your body and make sure everything feels OK and that you are building back smartly.
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By Meghan Reynolds
Having a strong core is a major component to becoming a stronger, healthier runner. At Hot Bird Running, we give every runner 3-5 days of core exercises within their weekly plan. This is both preventative and strength building.
The core, comprised of the transverse abdominal muscles (deep abs), obliques, erector spinea (lower back muscles), and gluteal muscles (your butt), provides you with stability, power and endurance. If your core is weak, it can lead to poor running patterns, i.e. overstriding, understriding, or a pelvis that swings from side to side, and eventually injury. As a result, you are more susceptible to lower back, hamstring and knee injuries with a weak core.
The moves below help prevent injury, make you a stronger runner, and help make running more enjoyable. Aim for two sets of each exercise 3-5 times a week.
Strengthens: Deep abs, lower back
How to do: Begin by lying face down, resting on your forearms. Push off the floor, rising up onto toes and forearms so your body is parallel to the floor and in a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure you are looking slightly forward so as not to put strain on the neck.
How much: 20-60 seconds
Make it harder: Extend the hold time or try lifting one foot off the ground.
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Food is your fuel. You need it to sustain daily activities and to power through your workouts. As runners, we need a combination of carbs, proteins and good fats to keep our bodies strong, healthy and provide us with enough energy to run and hit the times or the distances we want to achieve. While all runners (if you run, you are a “runner”) need carbs, proteins and fats, the amount and type will vary based on seasons. By seasons, we mean your training season (race season) and the actual seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall).
When you are in training, for a race or to stay/get in shape, AND it’s the summer, your body requires a higher amount of fluids, carbs and proteins. Below we’ve outlined what your body needs during summer training to sustain your athletic endeavors.
Fluids: The general guideline is 6-8 glasses per day or half your body weight in ounces. This differs for each person depending on activity level and the season. During the summer, you sweat more. Thus, you need more water and need to pay attention to replenishing your electrolyte levels. Add Nuun tablets to your water or eat saltier foods post workout. Let your thirst be your guide as to the right amount for you. Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
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